'Gentleman' Johnny Marcone is my *favorite* not-Harry character from the Dresden Files. Followed closely by Kincaid at the moment. So, when we were told that we were getting a short story from Marcone's point of view? I think I broke some glass. And now, it is *mine*, and I have read it. Twice. Well, one and a half times. I started reading it at lunch, and then someone stopped at my table to discuss Inception, and there went *that* lunch hour.
Now, for the analysis!
We've actually known the first line for a while. That does not make it less awesome:
'A successful murder is like a successful restaurant: ninety percent of it is about location, location, location.'
We start out in a warehouse. The same warehouse where the Wardens executed that warlock punk kid back in Proven Guilty, and *of course* Marcone knows all about that. And he shares Harry's love for the White Council. 'They knelt over a large, faded stain on the concrete floor, left behind by the hypocritically named White Council of Wizards during their last execution.'
Marcone kills two out of his three captives, leaving the third alive to carry a message of 'back the hell out of my territory or I'll flatten you' to his boss back in Boston. The two that he killed were running drugs to kids and then pimping them out. Which breaks Marcone's rule. No kids. He's a bad guy, make no mistake, but he has his own rules, and there are no gods to help you if you break them and he catches you. And he *will* catch you. Marcone *is* Chicago.
Interesting: Hendricks doesn't approve of much of the violence that Marcone commits or has committed in his name. So why does Hendricks work for Marcone? He's killed people for him, helped him hide other bodies. He's trusted, I think, as far as Marcone trusts anyone. So what's up with that?
Other new and interesting fact: John Marcone is not Marcone's real name. 'My name is something I rarely trouble to remember, but for most of my adult life, I have been called John Marcone.'
Marcone's head is cold, but sarcastic. I like it there!
'Mag entered in the manner so many of these self-absorbed supernatural cretins seem to adore. He blasted the door into a cloud of flying splinters with what I presumed was magic.
'For God's sake.
'At least the vampires would call for an appointment.
'The blast amounted to little debris. After a few visits from Dresden and his ilk, I had invested in cheap, light doors at dramatic (as opposed to tactical) entry points.'
Hmmm...so Justine shows up, and you just know she's there to cause trouble, because that's what Justine is, whether she's working for Lara or Thomas and the Venatori Umborium. She brings a kid, which saves her from Marcone asking for a price for his help, or just throwing her out to the curb. Mag, bad fishy magic guy, shows up, busts in door, and Hendricks shoots him in the back a lot. Gard smashes him with her 'I'm an awesome Valkyrie' axe, and only doesn't kill him because Marcone stops her. Since he's a Freeholding Lord of the Accords, and so are Mag's people, he gives him the chance to go away without causing an incident. Mag's goes away, but they all know he's coming back to get Justine and the girl, both of whom he considers his personal property.
Now, I saw someone theorise that Mag's reaction to Hendricks and the broad sword he had in the first fight meant that Hendricks has Thorned Namshiel's coin. I don't see where they get that. First, I don't see Hendricks picking up a Blackened Denarius on his own, especially given the personality we're seeing in this story. Second, I can't see Marcone asking him to do it. Marcone would know that he'd never be able to trust Hendricks again, and, really, he has the hate on for the Denarians after what they did to him and Ivy. I think Hendricks has been training with Gard, and there's something special about that sword, but it's not Denarian.
Also, Hendricks is working on his thesis. ON WHAT???? This is IMPORTANT information!
Hee. Marcone scares the lady who works for/spies on vampires!
Mmmm...Marcone has been a busy, busy boy. Nightscopes made to survive Harry's antitech effect. And the shiny, shiny destructive shotguns!
This. AA-12 automatic shotgun. Marcone has two. In *every* building. And he owns most of Chicago.
Possible proof of the theory that Marcone used to be military?
'The new military AA-12 automatic shotguns are not the hunting weapons I first handled in my patriotically delusional youth.'
The timing though. If we figure that Marcone was only a bit older than Harry in the first book, then he was, say, late 20s, early 30s. And he'd been on the wrong side of the law long enough at that point to have killed everyone who was in his way and have a good grip on the empire. Still, it might help explain the comfort with military grade hardware, and the not his real name thing Marcone's apparently got going on.
The *entire* fight and flee set up, luring Mag down to the panic room, and the weapon that was SOLELY DESIGNED TO KILL HARRY! The *entire* set up was meant to wear the scarily powerful Harry Dresden down so Marcone could kill him! And Mag just (unwittingly) helped him test it! Luckily the magic bullets are hard to come by and make, so there's not going to be a million of them, and after Changes, I'm not even sure that all this could kill Harry. He's....yeah, still going to have to go with scarily powerful and maybe mostly immortal. A little. Unless Mab gets sick of him...
Marcone and Harry, when they soul gazed back in Storm Front? I think they each saw similar things. Things that scared the piss out of them. They work together, sort of, now, when they have to, but neither one of them is ever going to forget that vision, and they're always going to be keeping track of the others powers.
Also, I think this is set between Turn Coat and Changes. Which doesn't help or hurt the case for Marcone being responsible for shooting Harry there at the end. Though I don't think it's him. There're plenty of other people/things who want Harry dead before Marcone does.
Okay. Last quote and then to bed!
'I broke my arm tumbling backward down the stairs.
'More laughter followed me down, but at least the fomor wasn't spouting some kind of ridiculous monologue.
'"I did my best," came Mag's voice. "I gave you a chance to return what was mine. But no. You couldn't keep yourself from interfering in my affairs, from stealing my property. And so now you will reap the consequences of your foolishness, little mortal..."
'There was more, but there is hardly a need to go into details. Given a choice between egocentric drivel and a broken arm, I prefer the latter. It's considerably less excruciating.'